Photography Gadgets



Sorry guys, i'm in a bit of a rush today but thought i'd share some quick pics of Varavon's sexy new Loupe EX. You can see how there are a variety of adjustments that can be made under the loupe to fit different cameras. When i'm free i'll touch on it more.

find-price-button Varavon Loupe EX-Solo View Finder


Vimeo member Karen Abad put together this amazing little stop motion story using the Pico Flex Table dolly to move the camera. It's possible to attempt this project with something as small as the new iPhone 4s with the Shark Clip attached too. Awesome work on this project, and another very creative use for the little Pico Flex dolly. [Thanks Karen]

Another fine example (above) is the little dolly being used for Industry Tape, the makers of excellent quality Zero residue tape. Great stuff to use with your camera gear. Vimeo member Gustavo Oliva shares some of the BTS footage. [Thanks Gustavo]

find-price-button Pico Flex Table Dolly


find-price-button Polaroid Motorized Pan Tilt

Here's an interesting product that was linked to from Venga. The idea was to use it on the Pico Flex Dolly. What you see above is an inexpensive motorized Pan / Tilt head with wireless remote. Previous popular inexpensive motorized pan heads were from Bescor, but this is a new version from Polaroid which says it's designed to support a full SLR camera up to 7lbs. That's quite a bit. It looks like it's using infrared for it's wireless remote, but says it comes with a 20ft sensor cord + another 20ft extension cord, so no worries about line of sight. Can be powered with (5) AA batteries or DC in. Could be a fun addition to some DIY projects out there. Anyone try this out yet? I'm thinking GoPro HD camera, or maybe my Sony HX9V mounted outside a car with controlled pan / tilt...



  • Panning Angle - 120 Degrees
  • Pan Speed - 6 Degrees Per Second
  • Tilt Angle - 30 Degrees
  • Tilt Speed - 4 Degrees Per Second
  • Maximum Load - 7 lbs
  • Power Sources - Remote= 1 CR2032, Head= 5 AA or DC Converter
  • Remote Transmitter Distance - 30'
  • Remote Sensor Cable - 20ft
  • Remote Sensor Extension Cable - 20ft
  • While the Bescor Motorized heads ran over $130-200 dollars, these Polaroid Motorized heads are listing for about $94 dollars on eBay (check prices here).

    Over on Amazon, the same Polaroid motorized Pan / Tilt head for SLR cameras runs just over $64 dollars and ships free for Prime members.


    find-price-button Polaroid Automatic Motorized Pan Head With Wireless Remote Control For SLR Cameras & Camcorders

    [Update] Thanks to Steven for writing in. There may be an even cheaper price, but only a few in stock (Click Here)
    for Polaroid Wireless Motorized Pan Tilt Head



    There's been some recent comments about off camera Flashes and the cheaper RF-602 or RF-603 wireless triggers. If you decide to go this route, remember that the trigger fits directly underneath the flash. Once you have this set up you can screw a light stand directly underneath the RF-602 receiver's 1/4-20 thread mount, but this means your flash can't be tilted and it doesn't provide a way to mount an umbrella.

    If you want to be able to angle your flashes and mount an umbrella grab yourself an umbrella bracket for Speedlites and because the RF-602 or RF-603 receivers don't have a shoe lock, you'll need to look for umbrella brackets that have a built in shoe lock. Hopefully this will save you from buying the wrong ones. Check out the video below for more information on this. [Thanks Carl]

    I'm using a few cheap umbrella holders that have locking shoes, and they start at about $4 dollars.
    find-price-button Adjustable Umbrella Flash Bracket

    find-price-button Yongnuo RF-603 Wireless Flash Triggers


    (BTW: The video (below) was shot on the Fuji X10. Notice all the aliasing? I think the Sony HX9V shoots better video, but the X10 does way better Photos)

    Even though small cameras don't share the same video quality as the DSLRs, I still love to shoot with them. Especially for little reviews like this on the blog, i'm not overly concerned with quality. Heck most of my videos are uploaded in 480 SD. When shooting videos with small cameras, I like using grips. I wasn't too happy with the current small handle grips on the market, so it was about time to make something new.

    PNC Grip (4 of 4)
    (left to right - Barska, Opteka, PNC Grip)

    The Barska is a great handle, but you'll need to grind down the threads a bit. The narrow platform overflows a small and wide camera base, but is suffice for light gear. The Opteka is mostly plastic and has a mini-quick release. This is not suitable at all for anything more than say a FlipHD. I wanted a handle that would fit my needs when it came to the cameras I was working with. I felt that most people who shoot with small cameras like me could benefit with an updated handle design.

    PNC Grip (2 of 4)PNC Grip (3 of 4)

    These new handle grips from have a wide base compared to the narrow ones available today. The new PNC Grip is much larger than the Barska, and has the rubberized coating which has a professional feel to it. The wide platform carries the weight better and ensures less twisting with a heavier load. Great for all the new small cameras like Canon S100, Panasonic GX1, Fuji X10, Sony NEX-5n, etc. A simple idea that makes a lot sense with the current trend in pocket video cameras (at least for me). It's on the last leg of completion and should be available soon. Target retail price?? Trying to get it around $20 bucks. Follow me on Twitter to stay up to date on new products like this

    PNC Grip (1 of 4)

    [Note: is a website I design products for.]


    Here's a very simple mod you can do with a Fotopro Transformer tripod or sometimes called the Polaroid All Terrain tripod. Available in ugly chrome and Gunmetal Grey. When choosing, be aware that some packages don't come with all the pieces. It's probably found under several different names too, but basically it's a flexible tripod with swappable feet and uses the standard 1/4x20 thread.

    Parts needed:

    1) Flexible tripod with removable feet
    2) (3pcs) 1.5" 1/4-20 bolts & (3pcs) 1/4-20 jam nut,
    3) (3pcs) basic skate wheels and bearings. Could be Rollerblade or skateboard wheels.
    4) About 30 seconds of time out of your day...

    When unscrewing the feet from these tripods, they are on pretty firm. Don't worry, just wrench them off, they are indeed removable. The 1/4-20 bolt is not a perfect fit (a bit smaller), but it really doesn't matter once it's rolling. Just don't crank down the bearings too tight or the wheel won't move as freely. This particular tripod isn't built for huge cameras, but should do fine for cameras around 3lbs. For anything heavier, I still recommend at least the Pico Flex table Dolly.

    Something like this is perfect for camera sizes like the Sony HX9V or GH2. Find these tripods on both eBay (click here)

    find-price-button FotoPro Flexible Transformer Tripod – via eBay

    and also via Amazon (click here).

    find-price-button FotoPro Flexible Tripod Rubber Suction Spiked Feet - via Amazon


    I've been asked to recommend a good small ball head that would work well with the Pico Flex Dolly or a good one for small sliders. I tested out a few, and the one that seems to fit the best is the Fancier FT6691. It's larger than the Giottos mini ball head, but still smaller than the larger Fancier Ball head I often use with the Konova Slider. For the price, it's a perfect little head for even DSLR cameras giving you extra stability with your sliders or table dollies.


    All metal with strong clamp force to keep the camera in position and a quick release plate (with safety latch) so you don't have to spin your camera off. So far I haven't found anything else that offers this type of bang for the buck. If you've got suggestions for a good similar feature ball head, let me know. Floating around $24 dollars, you can find them over at eBay (click here)

    find-price-button Fancier Small Positionable Locking Camera Ball Head - via eBay

    Cheaper and available for Prime shipping over at Amazon below (click here)

    find-price-button Fancier Small Camera Ball Head - via Amazon


    find-price-button Apollo Orb Softbox

    I enjoy shooting with small flashes because it's just easier to travel with and set up. I can practically pull a three piece lighting kit out of a backpack. The problem you'll run into with small flashes is trying to diffuse it with light modifiers. Softboxes are a popular choice for portrait and beauty photographers, but normally you need to decide on the proper speedring - Broncolor, Elinchrom, Bowens, Calumet, Alien Bees? The list goes on and on. The Westcott Apollo Orb octagon softbox (above) is perfect for portable flashes (speedlites), but can also be used with larger studio strobes without speedring adapters. The umbrella-like design sets up quick and is easier for Photographers who travel and need to shoot on location. A slit in the bottom of the softbox allows the stand to be placed through the center covering the entire flash unit. Unfortunately besides being too big at 43" inches, the $130 dollar softbox is also out of stock.

    Umbrella flashSpeedlite Softbox Octagon
    32" Umbrella Softbox for Portable Speedlite Flash

    Searching around for the equivalent, I happened upon one company making a smaller (similar) design at about 32" and obviously only runs for one quarter of the Apollo price. Needless to say, i'm already all over it and ordered myself a few pieces. (light stand and flash bracket not included). Remember that once you have your flashes tucked away, in order to fire them off, you'll need at least a good cheap set of wireless triggers like the Yongnuo RF-603s (found here). There are also rectangular versions of this speedlite softbox, that also opens up just as easy as an umbrella.

    find-price-button Umbrella Softbox Brolly Reflector

    You can find these clever Octagon softboxes following the link (click here).

    Screen shot 2011-10-23 at 8.42.18 PMflash softbox
    find-price-button Octagon Umbrella Softbox for Portable Studio Flash



    The FotoPro Transformer flexible tripod (released sometime last year), has optional replaceable feet that can be swapped out from standard rubber balls, to suction cups, to magnetic, and also spiked feet. The different options screw in through standard '1/4-20 threaded inserts'. This particular flexible tripod is good for cameras weighing under 3lbs (lightweight cameras), or small accessories like lights and flashes.


    FotoPro Transformer tripod already setup with 1/4-20 threaded mounts

    Having standard threaded inserts makes it very easy, if you decide to mount something else. You'll start seeing these tripods pop up in various colors with different package options, on both eBay (click here)

    find-price-button FotoPro Flexible Transformer Tripod – via eBay

    and also via Amazon (click here).

    find-price-button FotoPro Flexible Tripod Rubber Suction Spiked Feet - via Amazon